September 30, 2011

the trip and life on the other side

The journey from our old home in the States to our new home in Argentina started on Tuesday night and didn't end until early Thursday morning. It's now Friday, and we are feeling a bit more rested up and settled in. Well, as much as you can be settled in when you're homeless, and living out of suitcases, and other people's houses, in a foreign country... you know.

Tuesday night some friends  - who have a van big enough to fit us, them, and our 10 suitcases + 5 carry ons - drove us to JFK Airport, about a 3 hour drive.

We grabbed a few hours of sleep at a hotel near the airport (also compliments of friends!), only to get up at 5am for a long 24-hour day of travel.

We traveled TAM, a Brazilian airline (one way tickets, by the way:)). It was kind of nice to be waited on, with nothing to do but watch movies and TV - something I, um, let's see... never do. The kids were in their glory, each with their very own TV on the seat in front of them; they were glued to it the entire time, and we hardly heard a peep from them. It was also neat to practice my Portuguese, be able to understand everything the flight attendants said, and watch some Brazilian TV shows - I forgot how good (in a wordly way) they are.

Keeping the toddler busy and out of trouble was not easy - and we were praising Jesus when she finally passed out while eating lunch, after having been up since 5am.

Our connecting flight from Sao Paolo to Buenos Aires was on a smaller plane, this time full of Argentinians instead of Brazilians. The plane was so much noisier than the big airbus we had been on - that, plus the stress of travelling that far with kids - gave me a migraine, so I was not a happy camper the last leg of our journey.

Finally, after 13 hours flying time, and almost 24 hours awake, we made it to Argentina. We woke the kids up at 2am to shuffle them through Immigration and Customs. It went well - except for the $420 they took from us: the "Entry Fee" for North American, British and Australian citizens. Fortunately, when the cashier saw on our son´s passport that he was born in Buenos Aires (which makes him an Argentine citizen), she didn't charge him the $120 Entry Fee - even though he was entering with a US passport. God saved us some money again - sweet!

Tony's brother-in-law and family were waiting to pick us up. Everybody was tired, one was bawling and just wanting a bed - but, of course, some of Tony's family was still up and waiting for us when we pulled in at 3:30 in the morning.

They had been cooking all night for the following day's festivities.

I struggle with having to be nice and smiley and chatty at that hour - but we survived and were finally able to hit the hay at 5am.

The next morning family started pouring in early to say hi and stay for a huge meal. It worked out that several people had off work, and the kids didn't have school because all the teachers in the country are on strike. Apparently a mom and a student beat a teacher up somewhere, so all the teachers in the country went on strike... or, at least, that's what I understood. lol Welcome to Argentina.

homemade ñoquis [gnocchis] with tomato sauce, all made from scratch

beef stuffed with garlic and parsley... so tender

bife con relleno... mmmmm

juicy, moist, beef empanadas

Since I woke up with a mild migraine the first day, all the noise and commotion was a little challenging. To make matters quickly and exponentially worse, the 2 year-old almost immediately fell from the 2nd story of the not-baby proofed stairs... see how wide those slats are??

I was a nervous, sleep-deprived wreck that first morning. I still can´t take my eyes off her here. We're doing better now - she knows she's not allowed on those stairs alone. I don't know how my sister-in-law raised two boys with those stairs!

My boy also electrocuted himself trying to plug one of these 220-120 converters in...

and I offended my brother-in-law because I yelled at him (I'm good at that here - offending people. I don't mean to, I just always end up doing it.). I couldn't help yelling at him, though. He was showing the girls the patio on the second floor, and he picked my baby up to stand on the ledge so "she could see better". But he was holding her... so that was silly of me to yell Noooooooooooo!

Which I did.



Not a great way to start our first day.

Things did improve by dinner, though. The Aleve kicked in and many more warm and lively family members descended on the premises with hugs and kisses and laughs and cameras.

Some good news: the kids have already started speaking  Spanish:

What is wrong with this picture?
Why, absolutely nothing.
I always keep my eggs on top of the fridge,
don't you?
Hola, tia. [Hi, aunt.] 

Hola, tio. [Hi, uncle.]

Bien. [Good.]

Si, por favor. [Yes, please.] 

Gracias. [Thank you.] 

Un poquito de puré de zapallo, por favor. [A little more mashed butternut squash, please.]

Me gustó mucho la pizza. [I liked the pizza a lot. My boy really said that! All by himself!]

...and so on and so forth. It's ador-a-ble. Here they were so worried about not being able to speak Spanish, but I can tell they will be just fine.

Today, our second day here in Buenos Aires, we woke up to birdies chirping (spring has sprung here), the sound of a horse trotting down the street, several dogs barking, and somebody yelling over a loudspeaker advertising something. Welcome to South America. lol

September 24, 2011


I will sing of your mercies that lead me through valleys of sorrow with rivers of joy...

This week has flown. Hard to believe all of our wordly possessions were shipped off a week ago now. And we fly out in four short days! We're living out of our suitcases and in an empty house. Our stuff is now probably on a cargo ship somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.

Since we have been running from morning til night every day since, I'm just going to show you what container day was like in pictures...

the container arrives!

our stuff

measuring the 40' container: marking off 22' for boxes and furniture, leaving 18' to fit the van
(these guys were GOOD)

loading the container

moving injury: sprained ankle

talking logistics
Christian kept us entertained

the whole time...

he's strange... truly

the customs list

 I was not this smiley - he always is.

 Tony and the driver

me and my customs list: every package or box or loose item had to be labeled with a number and listed for customs in Argentina


 about half the group that helped us load up - thankyouthankyouthankyou!

 happy and relieved to finally be done packing - after six months!
after the container was filled up, we backed in the van

cutting wood to secure the van to the wooden floor of the container

watching the car get loaded - it was fascinating, it really was

after the van was loaded, we had to disconnect the battery, leave the key in,
make sure the tank was almost empty, then close it up!

There were a few inches of relief between the bumper and the container doors. It all fit perfectly!

We had so much help, and it all went off without a hitch (well, except for the sprained ankle).

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that helped, supplied us with food, and gave so that we could afford to ship a car and our stuff. We may be going with little else, but we have our stuff - which is a HUGE relief and tremendous money saver in the long run. Our friend Lee just got back from Patagonia, scouted things out, and said that an old car from the 70s sells for $10,000??? Crazy. We did good in shipping ours... really good. May it last us a long time! andmaynoonestealitinJesus'name.

We are busy saying goodbyes, crying, trying not to cry, and wrapping it all up to move into our new lives and what God has for us; a roller coaster of emotions. We get on a plane in 4 short days, and won't see our stuff for two more months.

No turning back now, I guess.

September 13, 2011

Our New Projector and Other Amazing Goodies!

Many months ago when I contacted the JESUS film people about how we could show the movie in Argentina as part of our ministry (that sounds so weird to say... "our ministry" - like, who are we?), the Latin American director located in Bolivia told us the best thing to do first was to just go ahead and get the equipment. Okay.

When I researched it and saw that a projector, laptop/DVD player, screen, speakers, and the movie cost between $4000-$5000 dollars, I sighed, stared at the computer screen, and pretty much gave up that dream for a while. I sat there, pretty disappointed (I mean, we don't have that kind of money!) - and prayed that somehow God would provide so that someday we could show the JESUS film in Argentina. Someday - I was thinking, after we'd been there a while.

Last night we got to see God answer that prayer (and then some!).

Here is our new projector (THANK YOU Dave & Terri, and our gracious and generous Heavenly Father!)

 setting up the projector in our kitchen

the DVD player that connects to the projector 

projecting a movie onto our kitchen cabinets!

Dave, a teacher, gave us little training session on how to set up and use our new little friend. He brought two boxes of all sorts of excellent evangelistic and teaching DVDs. He explained that we could even project onto the side of a building and have a 20ft x 20ft screen - the picture quality and audio is incredible! He also gave us two additional speakers and a 6'x6' screen he had in his basement!

Tony's head was spinning with all the possibilities, and so was mine! Traveling movie ministry, neighborhood movie nights, VBSs, Christmas outreaches... As Dr. Seuss says, "Oh, the places we can go!"

I'm a little disappointed that I don't have more time to play with our new friend - the container comes in 3 days and we have to get it ready for shipping. My greatest prayer at this point is that it just makes it to Patagonia without any sticky fingers stealing it! Please pray with me!

There have been so many more generous people that have come along side us these past days and months... I wish I had time to mention them all right now! But, it will have to wait - back to packing. We are in serious crunch time!

September 9, 2011

Saturday Night dance party

Okay, it's not Saturday... I've lost all notion of time... Who am I again?? Ack.

Please play this (in new window) as you read the following post (turn off bloggy ambiance, of course). Because life sometimes needs a little background Musak.

We got a phone call from the shipping company today - our stuff will not, in fact, be arriving in mid-October as planned. We're looking into November now... which means no car to make the 18 hour drive to Patagonia with. And since I'm not staying in Buenos Aires for 6 weeks until it arrives [no way. no how], we may just be moseying on down to Patagonia without our stuff, and have to return in November to pick it up. Oh well, we're tired of looking at it all, anyway.

 dining room

 living room... just pull up a plastic-wrapped sofa :)

 chilluns' room... the black dots are the suitcases they
have been living out of for a while already

 we've all been living out of our suitcases for... a month now? at least.
only two or so more to go... hopefully

 everything needed for life, for 3 months, in just two suitcases per person

the lovely view when we wake up every morning - ah, mess

 going down the stairs...

when you round the corner from the stairs... ah, so relaxing the view,
isn't it??

It just never ends. And it mostly makes me feel like a few really good 70s songs...

 You know them... don't act like you don't.

Okay, it's way after midnight - going to bed now. I leave you with...

A random, and much prettier picture, than all the above.

September 6, 2011

an Introvert in Buenos Aires

I wasn't planning on posting anything this week (up to my eyeballs in boxes. and about to kill the husband... man, is he high strung or what? It's like we're moving overseas or something. Sheesh. Relaaaaxxxx, dude. Esta todo bien. And you know what?, it was just a fender bender. It wasn't my fault. They ran into ME. Who cares if we're shipping it overseas in 10 days? See, not even a scratch. See that? Isn't the Lord good? Praise the Lord. la la la...lala lala la)

Anyway, I wasn't going to post because the only thing going on around here is packing. And a wee bit of tension. My house is a MESS - and it's driving me CRAZY! (and obviously, so is the husband). And since everyone thinks I complain a lot: nary a picture for you.

Ah, but then I read THIS: Caring for your Introvert.


Genius. Pure genius.

Everyone who knows me, or knows an introvert, MUST READ THIS.

It will bring a deeper understanding and more harmony into your interpersonal relationships. It will. Really.

The only thing I would do differently is rename this article, "Caring for Your Introvert: and Why You May Find Buenos Aires a Nightmare," or something like that.

In three weeks we will be in Buenos Aires. And, may the reader understand, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get away from people in Buenos Aires. They are ev-er-y-where. 13 million of them. And it is a sin to be alone there. I'm tellin' ya. I know. I've tried it. You will undoubtedly be met with, "Alone? You're going alone?" or, "You were alone... all day???". *gasp*

After reading this article, I think I feel truly validated and fully understood for the first time in my life.

No wonder my extrovert husband doesn't understand me. He never will. EVER. It's just not in his make up.

Read the article, and you'll see.

September 3, 2011

what we're trying to say

Watch this video and consider it to be what we have been trying to say; they've said it here better than we could ever have. I hope you are changed forever.

Sometimes I feel guilty about what we're doing - like what we are doing is "wimpy missions". Like we should be going to Africa or the 10/40 window or something, where the real heroes are. And because we are not, we're not really doing anything that special or spectacular. I really, honestly feel that way.

I don't think what we are doing is that big of a deal - I really don't. I'm actually kind of embarassed. But, at least we are doing something, I tell myself. I'm thankful for that opportunity.

I hope God speaks to you as you watch this, as He has spoken to me. May we not waste the lives He has given us, redeemed. May we be busy building up treasure in Heaven.

September 1, 2011

on finances: how we're doing it

How we're doing it... lol

That's funny. I still have no idea how to answer that.

The following is an excerpt from an email letter we sent out this week to everyone we know that might be interested - in an attempt to answer that very question. Many have asked us how we are going, if we have support, and how to send support to us in Argentina. After leaving the specifics of where to send checks and how to do Paypal, this was our answer:

"To clear up some confusion: Our home church will not be supporting us financially on a monthly basis in Argentina [We're sure this was an atomic email bomb of nuclear proportions for most... there was a lack of information shared of the exact parameters and limitations of church support - but, alas, that's another story. Suffice is to say, it was poopy to have to tell everyone this ourselves]. [Things at church are] only set up for one-time donations before we leave, not after; [the church] will not be serving as a vehicle to channel support to us once we are in Argentina. Even though we did apply to a missions organization, when we asked our home church to be our official sending church, they said no. That is why we are not going with an organization, which makes it difficult for us to provide any donors/regular supporters with tax receipts, a billing system, or a liason at this time. We are sorry for this, and hope that this does not discourage people from being a part of what we are doing. We believe that making these specifics as clear as possible will serve us all best, and help avoid any further confusion. All support of our mission work must be handled directly through us at this time.

We are praying Tony will be able to find a job in Argentina so we can help support ourselves and fund our own work. We trust that the Lord will open this door for a job for him. Please pray he finds a job soon upon arrival. Keep in mind that the average salary is about $1000/month, so any support coming in will enable us to do so much more.

These are unchartered waters for us, so please be patient with us as we work out the details of administrating our own support, as well as our own correspondence. Internet access may be limited in Argentina, so any questions, please ask them now.

The best way to keep in contact with us and to hear of our news and work is to sign up for our monthly email newsletters... Our newsletters are also the best way to see where your support is going. For more detailed news and pictures of missions and life in Argentina, you may also visit our blog.

We are trusting in the Lord fully, and we are so very thankful to see how He has already moved in the hearts of many to provide us with everything we need to do what He is calling us to do. Thanks for being an important part (the sheer number alone of people interested in receiving news from us has been a tremendous encouragement!) as we join the front lines of third world missions!"

So that about sums it up. The way it's played out has given my mom a whole lot of peace of mind as her daughter, three grandchildren, and favorite son-in-law move half-way across the world to work with poor people (not really, that's sarcasm - sorry, cranky pants again.).

We never thought it would look like this, and we certainly never thought we had the faith to go "in faith" (ie, without anything - like a job... or regular monthly support) - but, well, I guess God wants to grow us or something. Whatever. We've been through enough heartache this past year that all I can do anymore is shrug. It's in God's hands. We're in God's hands. I give up.

We're going. *shrugging shoulders*

The very person that told us no, our own church will not be our official sending church, nor will they support us in Argentina, also defined leader for us in this way,

Leader = one who takes initiative for the good of others


I love that definition. And I guess that's what we're doing: taking inititiative for the good of others... who are dying without a chance to hear... just once. I could care less if anyone follows, I don't want anyone following me... Good God, no, that would not be good. - I just want people by my side. That's all I need. That's all we need.

That's all we want. That is all we ever asked for or expected. We've never asked anyone for money - ever. And I don't think we ever will. We hate money, prefer to not even talk about it - but it can't be helped. People want to know. What can you do? It has to be talked about eventually. Now is the time, since we are running out of time.

I guess it just hurts {shameless disclosure}. It hurts to know there is a million dollars in the bank and none of it is for you... to do missions [okay, that's not fully true. We were gifted our tickets, and a little more.]. This is deeply grievous to us. And it should be to you, too. Isn't the mission of the church missions? What did I miss? What have we come to? What are we doing with the abundance and riches God has given us? What?

Jesus calls us friends. He sticks closer than a brother. Thank God. Because frontline missions can be really lonely.

Just saying... in case you ever think you're crazy enough to do it. Think again. You may give up everything to follow Him. And then He asks you to give up everything else.

a circle of plastic chairs

men's retreat, Patagonia, Argentina
A men's retreat... just a simple circle of plastic chairs. No need for a five star hotel or a plush conference center. (Love this.)

Spreading the gospel, edifying the church, doesn't have to cost a dime.

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